Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dinners for Two Weeks--Not My Usual Post

I love Pinterest!  If you haven't found this site yet, you should check it out.  It's an online bulletin board, and you "pin" the things you see that you love.  I have lots of categories, some teaching related, lots craft related (lots of card ideas), funnies, dream rooms, and more.  My favorite is all the recipes I've found.  We've tried lots of new things lately.  Which brings me to the point of my post.  

Dinner is a stressful event in our house.  Mike, who loves to cook, gets home later than we do.  Unfortunately, this means if we want to eat at a decent hour, I'm cooking.  Some nights I'm too tired or I just can't think of anything.  As a result we tend to eat late or eat out way too often.  I've been pinning recipes, but often we don't have the ingredients or I don't have time.  This weekend we decided to be proactive and try something new.  

I found several people through Pinterest who prepare all their crock pot meals ahead of time and freeze them.  What an aha moment for me.  Yesterday, we picked a bunch of recipes and went shopping.  Our Costco bill was higher than normal, but we're hoping our eating out savings will more than pay for that!  Last night, we threw the ingredients in the crockpot for a breakfast casserole.  We invited my parents over for a brunch of breakfast casserole, Snickerdoodle muffins (another discovered recipe), fruit and bagels.  It was delicious, although we definitely woke up hungry after smelling it all night :)  

Then this afternoon, we planned and prepped 9 meals, not including the crockpot lasagna we prepared first for tonight's dinner.  Two of the meals, Teriyaki chicken and Orange Chicken, we combined all the ingredients in a Ziploc and threw in the freezer.  Those meals just need to be defrosted overnight and dumped in the crock pot.  

Along with those two meals, we cut/chopped all the veggies and garlic for the rest of the meals, so everything just needs to be cooked or thrown in the crockpot.

It only took us about two hours from start to clean up to prepare it all.  Plus it was fun to spend time together in the kitchen.  Usually it's one or the other of us cooking.  Now we have meals planned and prepped for this week and through Friday of the following week, with a couple days built in for leftovers. The meals we have a lot left over (like tonight's lasagna, I'm sure), we'll freeze for another meal in the future.  We are hoping being organized will lower our stress levels and give us more time to get things done and have fun as a family.  The other bonus is that these are all brand new recipes for us.  I'll keep you posted on how this works out.

If you want to find these recipes, they are all posted on my Pinterest.  I am under scrappernic.  Or if you email me, I do have a file with the recipes I can send out.

Week one:
Sunday: Crockpot Lasagna
Monday: Roast with carrots and potatoes (crockpot)
Tuesday: Hobo Meatball Stew--This is supposed to be our only cold day this week
Wednesday: Hash with the leftover roast and potatoes
Thursday: Chicken Cordon Bleu (crockpot)  This one looks super easy, just layers in the crock pot.
Friday (meatless): Our only prepackaged food we bought.  We bought the battered cod at Costco, with french fries.  We've done salmon and talapia the last two meatless days.
Saturday: leftovers

Week Two:
Sunday:Turkey breast with stuffing and cranberry sauce
Monday: Orange chicken (crockpot)
Tuesday: Parmesan Chicken (crockpot) over pasta
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken (crockpot)
Friday: Cheese Tortellini